|Publication number||US7607578 B2|
|Application number||US 11/181,013|
|Publication date||Oct 27, 2009|
|Priority date||Jul 12, 2004|
|Also published as||US20060049251|
|Publication number||11181013, 181013, US 7607578 B2, US 7607578B2, US-B2-7607578, US7607578 B2, US7607578B2|
|Inventors||David A. Zimet|
|Original Assignee||Hesstech, Llc|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (14), Referenced by (2), Classifications (4), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/587,351, filed Jul. 12, 2004, and is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/893,580, filed Jul. 16, 2004, the entireties of which are incorporated herein by reference.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention is directed generally to a method and apparatus for tracking the lifecycle of items and, more particularly, to a inventory tracking system and method.
2. Description of the Background
Inventory tracking is necessary in order to assess the location of items and goods that may be reused, purchased, sold, disposed of, or otherwise transferred. Inventory tracking is particularly necessary if the goods or items to be tracked may be subject to certain laws or other regulations, such as environmental and/or hazardous waste regulations. Thus, for example, hazardous and/or non-biodegradable materials may be assessed with a particular need for inventory tracking.
Items having a particular need for tracking may provide other requirements not applicable in certain inventory tracking situations. For example, in the tracking of non-biodegradable materials, certain portions of a device may be biodegradable, or may be reclaimable, and it may be useful to note those portions of a given material as such. Further, certain types of inventory that are assessed with a particular need for inventory tracking may be reconditionable, and/or redeployable. It may thus also be useful to track the ability to recondition, and/or the ability to redeploy, certain inventory items or components.
Inventory tracking systems available at the present do not provide for the strict tracking and auditing functionality, necessary for items having a particular need to be tracked and inventoried. Inability to reliably retrieve such information may lead to legal exposure for generators or disposing parties. Further, present inventory tracking systems do not allow for differentiation between certain items, or between certain parts of certain items, which may be resellable, reconditionable, or redeployable. Thus, present inventory systems do not provide an adequate audit trail to prevent legal exposure resulting from failure to track the disposal, reconditioning or redevelopment of certain items which are subject to legal regulations. Further, present inventory systems do not track the original owner and document the transfer of ownership.
For example, the disposition of hazardous waste materials is subject to very strict laws. Often those disposing of such hazardous materials hire disposal companies to handle the disposal, and hence are not privy to the final location or final disposition of the hazardous materials. Thus, an inventory tracking system which allows for the specific tracking of a disposition (including, but not limited to, whether those goods have been stored, resold, demanufactured redeployed, or reconditioned) of all items entered into the system, is necessary but not available in the present art.
Present inventory and tracking systems generally have a lack of tracking and reporting for data, software, and/or hardware eradication in one program. Further, there is generally a lack of registry information recovery when dealing with software applications, particularly for computers that have experienced an fdisk and format command.
Further, for items designated as being suitable for being resold, redeployed, or reconditioned, a mechanism may be needed wherein such items may be resold, reconditioned, or redeployed. Such a mechanism might include auctions, wherein bids are submitted for an available item, and the highest bidder wins the opportunity to purchase the item for the bid amount. An inventory tracking system that tracks the status of all items within the inventory tracking system, and tracks separately, but in communication with, the inventory tracking system, auction items, items for sale, items destroyed, and/or reconditioned items would provide a unique and efficient mechanism of tracking goods, making goods available for sale, and disposing of goods, in a single system.
Thus, the need exists for an inventory tracking system that tracks and audits the status of all items within the inventory tracking system, including disposed items, and that tracks separately, but in communication with the inventory tracking system, auction items, items for sale, items destroyed and/or reconditioned items.
A system and method of tracking and reselling inventoried items is disclosed. This method includes assigning an audit code to an incoming inventoried item, wherein the audit code comprises a manual audit code and an automated audit code; auditing the incoming inventoried item to assess the incoming inventory item as such for one or more of, for example, the destruction, demanufacture, resale, reconditioning, storage, and redeployment; sending the incoming inventoried item to one of a redeployment, a demanufacture, a reconditioning, a resale, a storage, and a destruction in accordance with the auditing; manually updating the manual audit code in accordance with the auditing and the sending; providing, after the sending and the manually updating, redeployment or resale of at least a portion of the incoming inventoried item audited as suitable for at least one of demanufacture, resale, reconditioning, and redeployment; and, finally updating the manual audit code based upon the information provided to the system.
Further, a system and method of reselling inventoried items is disclosed. This method includes auditing the incoming inventoried item to assess the incoming inventory item as suitable for resale; making the incoming inventoried item available for auction in accordance with the auditing; auctioning the incoming inventoried item by at least one of a line item auction and a lot auction; disposing of the incoming inventoried item, upon completion of the auctioning, in accordance with an outcome of the auctioning; and, tracking the disposing, wherein the tracking updates a code associated with the auditing.
A system for tracking and disposition of inventoried items is additionally included in the present invention. The system includes an audit code assigner that assigns a manual audit code and an automated audit code to the inventoried item, an auditor that audits the incoming inventoried item to assess the incoming inventory item as suitable for one or more of destruction, demanufacturing, resale, reconditioning, storage, and redeployment, at least one of a redeployer, a demanufacturor, a reconditioner, a reseller, a storer, and a destructor associated with the auditor, and at least one updator that manually updates the manual audit code at each of the audit code assignor, the auditor, and the at least one redeployer, demanufacturor, reconditioner, reseller, storer, and destructor.
Also disclosed is a system and method for securely tracking and reporting the disposition of inventoried items from a remote location.
Thus, the present invention provides an inventory tracking system and method that tracks and audits the status of all items within the inventory tracking system, including disposed items, and that tracks separately, but in communication with the inventory tracking system, auction items, items redeployed, reconditioned or for sale, or items destroyed.
Understanding of the present invention will be facilitated by consideration of the following detailed description of the embodiments of the present invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like numerals refer to like parts, and wherein:
It is to be understood that the figures and descriptions of the present invention have been simplified to illustrate elements that are relevant for a clear understanding of the present invention, while eliminating, for the purposes of clarity, many other elements found in a typical inventory tracking system. Those of ordinary skill in the pertinent art will recognize that other elements are desirable and/or required in order to implement the present invention. However, because such elements are well known in the art, and because such elements do not facilitate a better understanding of the present invention, a discussion of such elements is not provided herein.
Once received, inventory may be audited, for example. Auditing may include sorting and/or inspecting received physical inventory, such as equipment. Auditing may assess the received inventory using client specific, or market value thresholds, for example, with the appropriate processing procedures determined based on the received inventory. Received inventory may be, for example, destroyed, stored, demanufactured, or processed for resale, by way of non-limiting example only.
Once inventory is audited, inventory that falls below resale thresholds, storage thresholds, or items specifically designated for destruction, may proceed to demanufacturing. Demanufacturing may include, for example, the dismantling of hazardous components, such as for recovery, reclamation, and/or proper disposal. Further, following demanufacturing, recoverable or reclaimable materials, such as scrap metals and plastics, may be transferred to an audited end-market, and permitted to be processed within end market facilities tracked by the auditing. Units that pass, and are to be made available for storage or processed for resale, may proceed either to diagnostics, or to storage. Diagnostics may include testing to insure proper functionality of a device, and or to ensure proper security, such as the removal of all identifying information from a computer hard drive. Items that fail the diagnostic stage may proceed to demanufacturing or disposal. Items that pass the diagnostic stage may proceed to staging, where the diagnosed items may be cleared for sale or redeployment. Alternatively, units that pass may proceed to client storage, where equipment or inventory is prepared for storage, and/or stored for reuse, redeployment, or resale.
Goods may flow from inventory, directly from receiving, or from destroyed item demanufacturing, to packing and shipping of those goods for transport outside. In accordance with a pick item, pack item, or ship item request, audit information is inserted to the audit trail of the inventory goods, in accordance with the unique manual and computer generated tracking code generated hereinabove, to allow an auditor to assess precisely where, when, and to whom goods were delivered, packed and/or shipped. Thus, the present invention may allow, in accordance with the unique tracking code, a complete audit trail from the moment goods enter the inventory tracking to the moment goods exit the inventory tracking, whether those goods are on-site or off-site. This audit trail further may include the party from whom each manual instruction was received to engage in the unique activities throughout the tracking process, i.e. those events tracked by the manually input audit code discussed hereinabove.
As illustrated in
For example, as illustrated in
Thus, the present invention may provide a computerized interface solution suitable for viewing, and operations upon, inventory, and the destruction, deployment, redeployment, and/or sales of inventory. This inventory interface may be localized, or may be available over a network, such as the internet, an intranet or an extranet, for example. This remote interface may allow for operations on remotely stored inventory, which remotely stored inventory may nonetheless be tracked at the local site through the use of the inventory system of the present invention. Further, for example, the availability of the inventory interface over a remote connection, such as network interface, may allow for interaction by third parties, such as those desiring to contract for the purchase of, or enter into an auction for, inventoried goods.
In an embodiment wherein remote sales, and/or auctions are available, a third party accessing the inventory system of the present invention may have available only certain aspects of the inventory tracking system, such as the criteria of goods desired for purchase.
More specifically, the SQL server which may be used as a database may be any SQL server known to those skilled in the art, such as, but not limited to, an SQL 2000 server. The database may be populated, and accessible to outside users, via a one way SQL server replication from the internal inventory tracking database. Replication to the user-accessible server may occur automatically, such as periodically, or, for example, may occur transactionally. Transactional replication may occur upon request for information, and may provide increased security over automated periodic replication. Requested information, such as redeployment requests, may be maintained in a database and/or table at the user accessible server, and may be replicated back to the internal inventory tracking database, on an agreed upon schedule, or per transaction.
Security may be provided within the user interface, such as by a client login screen. Such a client login screen may require entry of user name and password for example. After the identifying information is input to the system, the system may assess, or identify, the user. By directly or indirectly identifying the user, a determination may be made as to whether the remote user is a client, such as one that has inventory present, or is a regular user, such as one that may only purchase or bid on auctions. User names and passwords may be set up by the internal database server, and may be replicated to the remotely accessible database as part of the replication scheme discussed hereinabove. Access to application information and/or data may be controlled by the client's level of access, as stored in the client login table. Access may be, for example, at a client level, a site level, a group level, or a user level, such as by determination through a security mask placed, upon each individual request, upon the correspondent requesting entry in the client login table. Of note, encrypted login, such as SSL, may be used in order to increase client security.
Multiple views may be provided in the present invention, and the information displayed in each view may be consistent with the requesting user's access level. For example, certain users may be eligible to view all equipment that is available for sale and/or auction. Certain users may be able to view equipment which is available for redeployment. Other users, such as those who have made a purchase, may be able to view equipment which is pending shipment. Still other users, such as those who have made a purchase and viewed a pending shipment, may additionally be able to view shipped items. A job summary may be provided to users having a login. The job summary may provide all information relevant to that user which that user is eligible to see. Further, particular elements within the audit trail may be available to certain users, dependent upon those users' security clearance.
For example, redeployment requests may be made with the present invention. Users may enter a category, an item type, a manufacturer, make, model, and/or a quantity requested. Filtering, or other search mechanisms known to those skilled in the art, may query and check quantity for the availability of the items requested for redeployment. The recipient of the redeployment may, for example, be selected from a drop down list of known recipients, or a new recipient may be entered by completing a recipient information form. The redeployment request may be submitted, such as by clicking a submit button, which may cause the sending of an e-mail to the internal inventory tracking data base. Such an email may detail that forms have been filled out and a redeployment request has been remotely generated.
Referring now to
Different types of auctions and access may be shown in
Lot auctions may be available, wherein a bid is required for the entire list of items in a given auction, and wherein one or more of the items are responsive to the users searched for item. Alternatively, line item auctions may be available, wherein a bid is required for each equipment item, or part of a piece of equipment, displayed in a list of equipment items, but wherein the sum of the lists, and/or the sum of the items, and/or the sum of the bids, may make up a single auction. Alternatively, in a line item auction, bidders may bid only on the items they wish to purchase. Alternatively, a line item lot auction may be available, wherein bids may be accepted for individual items, or for all items in the line item lot. However, in such line item lot auctions, the bidding closes for all items in the line item lot at the same time.
Referring now to
Items may be selected for bid, or bid watch, and a bid status form, unique to each user, may be sent. The bid status form may list all items on which the bidder has submitted bids, the items the bidder is watching, current bid status, and items that have been won, lost, or closed in the course of bid.
A different color or signifier, such as a red color, may indicate that the bidder does not currently have the highest bid in that particular auction. The bidder may then increase the current bid from the submitted bids list, and have that bid update entered into the auction system. The bid watch list section may list all items that the user has selected to watch without actually bidding. The current bid price may be available from the bid watch list section. Further, the bidder may enter a bid from the watch list section. The completed list section may list all items the user has selected to watch without actually bidding. Further, this section may list all completed auctions, including those on which the bidder has bid, and the status of each. A green color, or other color, or other differentiating factor, may signify that the bidder has won that auction. A different color, or a different differentiation, may signify that the bidder has lost that auction.
Referring now to
Referring now to
Referring now to
Referring now to
Referring now to
Referring now to
Referring now to
Referring now to
Referring now to
Referring now to
In addition, there may be a need or requirement to track and report information regarding data, software, and/or hardware eradication in one program. The present invention may incorporate each of these elements. For example, as discussed above, individual hardware items may be tracked and inventoried. Additionally, software may be identified on a computer system and tracked similarly to the component level tracking of hardware. Further, data components may be tracked.
For example, the registry information on a computer may be tracked. This provides assurances to those involved, such as the original owner of the computer, that data and software are being eradicated such as by fdisk or disk formatting before sending the computer to the inventory system. The present invention is capable of interrogating the computer system to determine which software applications were previously resident on the machine even after such a disk format. This may provide ownership and separates licenses, such as software licenses, from the hardware in which they reside. This may allow for example, a computer owner to discard a computer system while accounting for the software licenses, thereby permitting the licensed software to be added to another machine without purchasing a new software license.
Turning again to
The View Item Status Page exemplified in
The View Item Status Page may display all equipment processed as of a current date within the system. The system may maintain the capability of sorting by category. In this regard, a grouping of categories may be created and items may be searched by item type. Building, client site location, and cart information may be included to allow for the remote tracking and retrieval of assets for storage, redeployment, resale, or storage.
The view resale credits link may display all equipment authorized for resale. Further, cash credits for auction sales may be depicted in addition to appraised information.
A Pending Cart Page, exemplified in
The Item Cart may be used to set the expiration date for an item or items that may be available for redeployment, in storage or any other item status. The Pending Cart page may report the entity who created the cart, when the cart was created, the intended action or purpose of the cart, the creator contact information, and whether the cart was approved or completed. Based on the account profile, the user may or may not have the authority to view any or all Actions. A limitation on the number of manageable active carts may be employed. For example, a given user may manage one active cart and therefore, the cart must be submitted before another Cart can be created. Alternatively, users may be provided the ability to manage multiple active carts.
The Item Cart may allow users to make a request or perform an action related to changing the status of item or directing them to be redeployed to specific recipients. The actions available in the dropdown may be visible based on the users account profile. The account administrator may control the available actions. The user may have the ability to remove items from the Cart prior to Cart submission. For requests to redeploy items, both the Requestor information may be required and may be completed prior to submitting a request. Other requests, such as disposal, resale, move item, for example, may require only the Requestor information. When a follow-up procedure is required for a request, such as picking, packing and staging for redeployment or disposal, for example, an email or other notification may be sent, such as to previously arranged designated contacts. The email may provide details on how to manage the request. Once a follow-up procedure is complete, or if none was required, the Item Cart may be set to complete.
As exemplified in
The disclosure herein is directed to the variations and modifications of the elements and methods of the invention disclosed that will be apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the disclosure herein. Thus, it is intended that the present invention covers the modifications and variations of this invention, provided those modifications and variations come within the scope of the appended claims and the equivalents thereof.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US5424944 *||Feb 2, 1994||Jun 13, 1995||Asset Management & Control, Inc.||System and methods for controlled asset disposition|
|US5913210 *||Mar 27, 1998||Jun 15, 1999||Call; Charles G.||Methods and apparatus for disseminating product information via the internet|
|US5960402 *||Nov 6, 1997||Sep 28, 1999||Hitachi, Ltd.||Information management apparatus dealing with waste and waste recycle planning supporting apparatus|
|US6112904 *||May 30, 1997||Sep 5, 2000||Halton System Oy||Device and method in handling of returnable packages|
|US6663004 *||Aug 14, 2001||Dec 16, 2003||Frederico Wagner||Method and system for disposing of discarded items|
|US6758802||Jul 9, 2001||Jul 6, 2004||Electronic Paper Solutions, Inc.||Automated shelf management system and process for tracking and purging file folders in a file storage facility|
|US7113922 *||Nov 2, 2001||Sep 26, 2006||Living Naturally, Llc||Electronic inventory movement and control device|
|US20020019785||May 25, 2001||Feb 14, 2002||Jonathan Whitman||System and method for returning merchandise|
|US20020091595 *||Dec 28, 2001||Jul 11, 2002||Yoshio Itoi||System and method of assisting goods collection and recording medium|
|US20030209601||Apr 7, 2003||Nov 13, 2003||Chung Kevin Kwong-Tai||Article tracking system and method|
|US20040143505||Oct 16, 2003||Jul 22, 2004||Aram Kovach||Method for tracking and disposition of articles|
|US20040177032||Mar 1, 2004||Sep 9, 2004||Bradley A. (Tony) W.||System, method, and apparatus for identifying and authenticating the presence of high value assets at remote locations|
|US20050187834 *||Nov 27, 2001||Aug 25, 2005||Painter Jeffrey W.||On-line parts location and transaction system|
|JP2002099588A||Title not available|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US7698174 *||Apr 13, 2010||Sap Ag||Wiki biz web|
|US20090070233 *||Sep 12, 2007||Mar 12, 2009||Frank Brunswig||Wiki biz web|
|Nov 16, 2005||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: HESSTECH, LLC, NEW JERSEY
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ZIMET, DAVID A.;REEL/FRAME:017250/0602
Effective date: 20050914
|Jun 7, 2013||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Oct 27, 2013||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Dec 17, 2013||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20131027